Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 16

Published March 12 2018

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 column

Our community, Briar Patch, in New Port Richey has really gotten on board with the recycling program. Many homeowners diligently separate garbage from recycling material and place it curbside for pick up. Our recycling days were the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, that is up to Wednesday, Feb. 28, when there was no pickup and all the bins remained at curbside.

Upon calling Waste Management, we were informed that "New Port Richey changed the pick up days to the second and fourth Thursday of each month." We emailed Debbie Manns, our city manager, and she informed us that the city ordinance prohibits Wednesday pickup, and the hauler was now conforming. Thursday is a our regular garbage pickup.

On Thursday, March 1, the garbage and recyclables that were at curbside the day before were all picked up and deposited together in the same truck. We contacted Pasco County and expressed dismay at both garbage and the recycle material being picked up together and told it wouldn’t happen again.

On Thursday, March 8, our residents once again put out their recyclables and garbage. Once again, all the garbage and recyclables were deposited in the same truck.

Both the county and hauler pointed fingers at New Port Richey for changing the recycle days. However, according to the city, there was no recent change. Bottom line is that many good citizens in our community go to the trouble of separating items for pick up only to find that is a wasted exercise.

Frank Ferreri, New Port Richey

Blah. Blah. The ongoing weak efforts of Pasco County officials to experiment with expanded recycling is an embarrassment to the 21st century. Or at least comparatively to other parts of Florida. Officials view progress as a pilot program discussed 18 months ago, with only a non-disclosed 1,500 homes. Don’t rush into anything while you worry about landfills.

When I retired to San Antonio from New Hampshire 13 years ago, I was stunned at the #1/2 plastic, twice-a-month-only pickup. My parents in North Port (Sarasota County) have received weekly pickup of ALL recyclables for at least 15 years.

Other recyclables have been added, but as long as the twice-a-month-only has remained, the difficulty of use will never prompt residents to do so. Officials know this. My numerous complaints to many officials over the years have fallen on deaf ears.

Life in a closed golf community requires trash containers stored indoors with first and third Wednesday pickups. When Christmas or New Year’s falls on a Wednesday and the Eve is also skipped, that could mean no pickup for a month. All those holiday visitors means more recyclables that must be put in the regular trash.

My calls to county officials were met glibly with, "Well, it won’t happen to you next year." Correct. It will happen to someone else.

I also have been told that various waste management companies over the years dictate the terms of recycle pickup. No recycling of all those bottles in the new outlet mall either. Perhaps County officials are too easily bullied.

Like most things in life, if something is too hard, few people do it. Pasco has always made recycling too hard. Eighteen months to discuss a tryout program indicates a difficult topic for County officials that other counties managed to handle more than a decade ago.

Diane Verhoest, San Antonio

I found Mr. Bowen’s article on recycling in Pasco County to be very timely, given that our scheduled recycling pickup on March 7 was not made. An attempt to remedy this had an unsatisfying outcome.

When I called the carrier, I was given three options: Throw the recycling in the trash; drive it to a drop-off site; or wait two more weeks. I stated that I pay for the service and that the contract with the county includes the recycling. I was informed, incorrectly, that I am not paying for the service, that it is just a "throw-in" that’s included with the trash service, and that they do not have a contract with the county.

We believe that recycling is the easiest way to make a significant contribution to protecting our environment and are proud that we recycle more items than we throw away. Two recycling pickups monthly is minimal, and it appears that we can’t even count on that.

If Pasco County intends to increase recycling to weekly, it also should consider ways to ensure that the carrier fulfills the terms of its contract and makes pickups as scheduled.

Dave Gellar, Land O’ Lakes